Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Just emptiness in the sky

The 9/11 commemoration is over. President Bush has done his public duties, vowing that he would continue his fight against terrorism; he is really becoming a tragic figure. And CNN has had cheap broadcast hours by having re-runs of 9/11 and the conspiracy tapes.

I did not see much of commemoration on the Internet. I personally think that Internet is a good place to have commemorative sites. One of the best commemorative sites I have seen so far online, was the El Pais commemorative site in remembrance of the Madrid bombings in 2004. This was a real multimedia monument to the victims of this bombing. A subdued design in which the cruelties of the bombing were shown, but also the respect for the dead and other victims as well as for the rescuers.

Just emptiness in the sky; 9/11/2001 and 9/11/2006 (photographs taken by AP's Marty Lederhandler)

In the wave of present commemorative 9/11 sites I noticed that AP produced a special site, comparing the venue en surroundings of 9/11 with the venue and surroundings now. "It's horrible what you're seeing unfolding, but part of this job is being an eyewitness to history." So said AP video journalist Bill Gorman about shooting news video of the attack on the Pentagon for The Associated Press on Sept. 11, 2001. Gorman and other AP journalists were interviewed for a special exhibit commemorating the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on an airplane over Pennsylvania. In addition to being on display at various journalistic conferences and schools around the U.S., the exhibit is available to the public online at Along with a 10-minute video, the exhibit features photographs taken the day of the attacks, side-by-side with images of the same sites taken in June 2006. Now retired, former AP senior staff photographer Marty Lederhandler spoke of going back to the top of the General Electric building from which he photographed the World Trade Center towers after the initial attack. "It's a strange feeling. You look at one picture with the building, and the current picture, no buildings. Just emptiness in the sky." The then-and-now images juxtapose the horror of the 2001 attacks with the hope of normalcy in 2006. "It's remarkable to me how much change the city has made down there at Ground Zero in terms of recovery," said AP staff photographer Mark Lennihan. The exhibit pays tribute to the dedication and courage of all journalists who face challenges and risks doing their jobs. "We're first responders, like police and fire and ambulance people are to disasters. Whenever it happens, you're a photographer and you have to capture the scene," said AP Staff Photographer Richard Drew. Drew also discusses his renowned "Falling Man" photograph, taken of a World Trade Center victim who dropped from the side of the building before it collapsed. Other scenes in the exhibit include dust-covered New Yorkers walking in the city after the towers collapsed, alongside smiling faces on the same street in 2006; firefighters in front of the remains of the towers next to an image of construction on the site this year; and the Pentagon with a gaping hole six days after it was struck, and today, appearing as if the attack had never occurred. In the video, AP's Managing Editor Mike Silverman sums up AP's efforts on Sept. 11, 2001, "We did the very best job we could in pulling together all the different elements of the story, the different formats and the different angles from all over the world. And we try to do that every day."

The site shows from a journalistic point of view how the event was experienced and still is experienced by journalists


Blog Posting Number 507

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